Recent headlines have featured the stories of mesothelioma victims filing successful lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other cosmetic talc product companies, holding them responsible for their terminal diagnoses. The stories of these victims have raised fears among countless people who’ve used talc-based products throughout the years. Now a new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine suggests that repeated exposures to cosmetic talc does indeed lead to malignant mesothelioma.
Study Included 75 Patients Diagnosed With Malignant Mesothelioma
The mesothelioma study was conducted by Theses S. Emory, M.D. of the Department of Pathology, Peninsula Pathology Associates. It included seventy-five individuals, all of whom had been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and whose only known exposure to asbestos was repeated exposure to cosmetic talcum powders.
The majority of the mesothelioma patients in the study were female, with only 11 males. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 61 and the mean latency from the time of exposure to diagnosis was 50 years, though the exposure duration averaged 33 years. Most of the victims reported lifelong use of cosmetic talc, with four cases involving people who worked as either barbers, cosmetologists, or who swept up in a barber shop.
Tissue Analysis Revealed the Presence of Asbestos
Notably, eleven of the patients in the mesothelioma study had tissue samples that demonstrated the presence of anthophyllite and/or tremolite asbestos. When asked about the results of the study, Dr. Emory said, “Mesotheliomas can develop following repeated exposures to cosmetic talcum powder. This is likely due to the presence of asbestos contaminating cosmetic talcum powders. In addition, cosmetic talc may account for a percentage of the malignant mesotheliomas previously reported as “idiopathic,” especially in women.”
She suggests that more research is needed, concluding in the study that, “Large‐scale controlled studies will be required to assess the prospective risk of developing mesothelioma following repeated exposures to talc. Although cosmetic talcs are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the poor prognosis of malignant mesothelioma may warrant regulation or the withdrawal of cosmetic talcs from the market, as nontoxic alternatives such as corn starch are presently available.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need information no matter where your exposure to asbestos came from. For help getting the resources you need, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.